WELCOME TO WINNIE'S: THE HEART OF MANAYUNK
Winnie Clowry grew up in the restaurant business watching her father, Joe Murphy, put great food on the table and a smile on every ones face. She joined the Le Bus Manayunk restaurant in 1994 where she met Chef John O’Brien. Realizing what an important institution the restaurant was to Manayunk, Winnie and her husband Bob bought the restaurant in 2003 and asked John to be the Executive Chef. “I knew I had the business savvy to operate the restaurant but the kitchen was a different story. Thankfully John accepted the position and the rest is history.” Winnie and Bob brought fresh ideas, new menu items, responsible management, and a keen desire to develop a relationship with the Manayunk Philadelphia community.
It was Bob’s idea to name the restaurant after Winnie. He knew how hard Winnie worked and thought she deserved the recognition. “I am a fixture here because it is absolutely essential for the owner to work hands-on, to keep the passion for good food and service alive.” Winnie found it unnerving at first because she hated her name growing up, but now is thankful for it. “I am the third Winnie, I’m named after my mom and my grandmother who is now long gone. I often say that I wished my grandmother was alive to see Winnie’s, she would be so proud.”
Family is still an important part of Winnie’s Manayunk with nieces, nephews, and extended family filling out the staff. Winnie’s staff all feel like family and are vital to the success of the restaurant. “We want people to feel welcome here, to be able to bring their families or friends to a friendly and comfortable establishment.”
A visit to Winnie’s offers an abundance of comfort food; the brunch is particularly popular. Portions are generous and the service, from bar to table, is welcoming. You can grab a complimentary newspaper at the bar and make yourself right at home in the heart of Manayunk.
MEET THE CHEF: JOHN O'BRIEN
Born in Philadelphia, Chef John O’Brien is a graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. He trained under well known European and American chefs, and has been featured on the Fretz Kitchen as well as NBC 10 and Good Day Philadelphia.
Chef O’Brien is the longtime executive chef of Winnie’s Manayunk where he uses seasonal local ingredients to create healthy menus for brunch, lunch & dinner. He found his comfort zone at Winnie's over 12 years ago. His food reflects his exacting yet ebullient personality. “I'd much rather please the appetite than decorate the plate,” says John. “Although presentation is vital, I emphasize portion size and high quality ingredients.” Chef O’Brien’s recipes reflect originality and ingenuity. Some tried and true dishes have been on the menu for years, attracting a loyal following. “Food, however, is forever evolving.”
In addition to the restaurant, John is also the executive chef of Winnie’s Catering. While preparing meals for entertainers all summer long at the Mann Music Center, the chef is also catering for thousands at premier athletic events such as The Philadelphia Triathlon, Dad Vail Regatta, TriRock Philly, and The Philadelphia Freedom.
As if that wasn’t enough on his plate, Chef John partnered with Winnie Clowry of Winnie’s Manayunk, to open Smokin’ John’s Barbeque right next door in 2014.
MEET THE CHEF: BILL CARR
Chef William Carr IV (Chef Bill) got his start in the restaurant business at the age of 15 as a dishwasher. Bill quickly moved up to line cook all while studying culinary arts at his technical high school. After graduation, Bill immediately began working full-time, while continuing his education. By age 20, Bill had advanced to Sous Chef at Creed’s Seafood & Steaks in King of Prussia, PA, where he worked for over 12 years.
In 2014, Chef Bill became the Executive Chef at Winnie’s Manayunk. Bill has continued the Winnie’s Manayunk commitment to local, fresh ingredients, while bringing passion and a meticulous attention to detail with a seemingly simple yet modern approach to the Manayunk staple.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Bill is with his wife in Bucks County, PA enjoying the various activities and performances of his three children. Or he’s rooting for his favorite Philly teams, with the exception of the Eagles (he’s a Steelers fan).